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A New Look at Parisians

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Parisians I think it's time to bury the travel myth that Parisians are rude to everyone. I've been studying this for some time, and after a long weekend in Paris, I'm coming to the conclusion that the city gets a bad rap. And, no, it's not because the folks at the fancy George V invited me to be their guest. Of course, they were nice. I'm talking about the average, on-the-street Frenchman. Or woman.

I've never taken French. Anyone who's listened to this show knows my pronunciation is horrible. I get along, but barely. And I've been solidly in the Parisians-are-rude camp for decades, ever since I tried to order a doughnut from a street vendor one winter when I was 11 years old, and I mispronounced the word for "one" as "oone." This big, unshaven guy leaned into my face, wagged his finger at me and barked, "Uh-n! Uh-n!" I couldn't eat a doughnut for years. Well, weeks.

Anyway, in my last dozen visits to Paris, I've noticed that everyone has been incredibly nice. At first I figured it was a conspiracy to lull me into dropping my defenses. But last week, as I puzzled over a Metro map, a man stopped to ask if he could help me. Just amazing. So until evidence points otherwise, I'm taking Paris off the rude list. Let me know if I'm right about this.


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